From time to time we come across bikes which are a marvel just because of their existence.
This bike is one of them and what makes it special, before all other things which are special about it, is its condition. It could just have been drawn from a time machine. And Somewhere in 1950s Germany a sportsman is wondering to where his freshly purchased Rabeneick Modell 120D "Campagnolo" disappeared.
Of course there are some other bikes from that decade which are well preserved in their original condition. But sports bikes which were intended for professional use? Those are rarer than hen's teeth, simply because they were used and abused as a tool in sportive competition. When they are still looking good today it is always due to restauration, polishing, a new paintjob.
You will find none of it on this bike.
It was found almost exactly the way it looks now - in a cardbord box in southern Germany some years ago. The former owner had it set up with racing mudguards, lights and reflectors. Was he going to train in dark winter times? We do not know. But did not use it for long, likely just for a test ride.
There are almost no traces of usage on the bike. Yet it must have been important to the former owner. Before he put it in the cardbord box for almost 6 decades, he covered the whole bikes in a thin film of preserving oil.
Our task here was just a careful cleaning. All the metal parts were still shiny underneath a cover of oily dust.
We cleaned the bike thoroughly but no abrasive metal polish nor paint polish have touched this beauty. Just for the last finish, a paint nourishing liquid has been applied.
If you are not familiar with the Rabeneick Campagnolo model we can help out: the German brand Rabeneick had a short yet very successful time in cycling history. August Rabeneick founded his Company in the 1930s and started with the production of motorbikes. Later he also included the production of bicycles and supported a factory team on his own. In 1965 when Fichtel&Sachs bought the Rabeneick company, they eventually shut down the cycling branch.
In the company's short life, more than 75(!) German championships in various disciplines have been won on Rabeneick bikes and the model we present here was responsible for a lions share of them.
Tullio Campagnolo and August Rabeneick had their first encounter at some cycling event in the early 1950s. Both were about the same age and shared the same idea of quality bicycles and parts. Eventually they became friends. Rabeneick even got the rights to use the name Campagnolo for his professional top-model which got a complete Campagnolo-outfit
The outcome was the Rabeneick Modell 120 Campagnolo. A bike, built to win on the still tough roads of the 1950s.
Everything Campagnolo produced back then could be found on this bike: Dropouts, shifting, clamps, hubs. And for the rest nothing else than the best was good enough. The frame was made from Libellula (dragonfly) butted tubes, the bearings and the double chainset were Stronglight, seat Brooks, pedals Sheffield, brakes Universal, adjustable Stem Ambrosio, rims Weinmann.
You can check on every part and it is the who-is-who of European top notch cycling componentry.
Even the parts that were added on this bike as extras to the standard are the best you could get. The lightweight "de Havilland Venom" racing mudguards by Bantel, the Silca Impero pump, the tiny Swiss Lucifer lights system (which is still working with the original bulbs!), the brand 'new' REG bottle cage and bottle with shower head... just the best of everything.
Unfortunately the bar tape had to be renewed because the original one was torn on one side. It was left under the new cloth tape for those who care about these small things.
Our Rabeneick Modell 120D Campagnolo is the best preserved exemplar in the world. At least we have not seen or heard of a better one. And it is the best preserved 1950s professional level bike which we had so far.
It is a bike for those who are looking for something authentic. A winning, top class lightweight bicycle from the 1950s. Good enough for any concours d'elegance, any wall, any museum, any collection.
Used. The bike is in very very good condition. Pretty much NOS. The frame has no cracks, no dents and is not bent. Paintwork and decals are original. All parts are working fine. Some minor signs of storage like small paint chips. Hardly any traces of usage at all.